Business

Trump to tour Apple's Austin manufacturing plant Wednesday

Bloomberg

President Donald Trump is scheduled to tour an Apple Inc. manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, the White House said Sunday.

The president plans to visit the plant along with Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, according to a tweet by spokesman Judd Deere. The Austin American-Statesman newspaper reported that Trump will travel with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other administration officials.

The company announced in September that its new Mac Pro computer will be assembled in Texas after it received exclusions from the Trump administration from tariffs on certain parts imported from China.

The visit also comes at a time the U.S. and China are close to finalizing the first phase of a highly anticipated trade deal.

It’s not the first time Cook and Trump have spent time together. They’ve dined at the president’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, twice in the past two years, most recently in August. Cook also attended a state dinner hosted by Trump in 2018 for French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump said after the pair met in August that Cook made a “good case” about the difficulty in competing with South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co. if Apple products are subject to import tariffs.

A month later, the Trump administration announced it had agreed to Apple’s request for tariff waivers on 10 of 15 Chinese components — a shift from a stance announced by Trump in July that the company’s requests would be denied and that it should make the parts in the U.S.

After gaining the tariff relief, Apple announced it would assemble the new Mac Pro computer at the Austin plant, which has produced the previous Mac Pro since 2013. There had been reports the company planned to shift production to China.

The Trump administration then said in September it denied Apple’s request for relief from 25 percent tariffs on other Mac Pro components, including optional wheels, a circuit board for managing input and output ports, power adapter, charging cable and a cooling system for the computer’s processor.

The company is also seeking exclusions Trump’s tariffs that went into effect Sept. 1 on the Apple Watch, iMac, parts for the iPhone and other components imported from China.

Last month, Trump criticized Cook for a design change to the iPhone — the loss of the home button.

Apple’s presence in the Texas capital is the biggest after its headquarters in Cupertino, California, the Austin American-Statesman said, and the company has said it will invest $1 billion in Austin to build an office park capable of holding 15,000 additional employees.